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tv   American Perspectives  CSPAN  July 17, 2010 11:00pm-2:00am EDT

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in the country. we have to invest in infrastructure, and develop a manufacturing prowess in -- manufacturing policy. we have to provide incentives to companies to make goods here. we have to spend in a responsible, targeted way. smart and effective. at the same time, we have to have a balanced budget and be responsible with taxpayer money. judge kristian is critical to rebuild our economy. -- job creation is critical to rebuild our economy. before we began at the court in providence, most people did not know we have $47 million allocated. now there are jobs. the point is there are effective strategies to create jobs. >> mr. lynch, job creation or
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deficit reduction? >> we cannot fix anything in this country until we put people back to work. i have been involved and represented thousands of people over the years, small business people who i see on a regular basis, whose main complaint is they do not have access to capital. they can barely stay afloat. i would never have supported giving $800 billion to big banks and wall street and than $15 billion to be spread across the country for job creation. that is when i talk about priorities in washington being wrong. that is what i am talking about. we have to put pressure for making any stimulus money available to get that money into the lending community so people can get access, including here in rhode island. it is incomprehensible to me to hear the mayor talked about responsible budgeting. providence has over a $50 million deficit this year, and
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more in unfunded pension liabilities. it is important that people look not just at what candidates say but look at their history and what they have done. >> i want mr. segal to jump in on this question. >> jobs are the comparative right now. in my capacity as a legislator, i have helped create jobs. one is the green jobs work i have done, legislation passed under my name three times in a row which says that the cure the proprietor of solar panels or wind turbines if you get paid for the electricity that you generate but do not use yourself. i think that is a great thank ting a great -- i think that is a great thing. but also pushed for an ordinance that says that if you get money
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from the city of providence that you are supposed to hire local residents to do the work of your project. that push came to fruition for a lawsuit by helped organize against the executive office. now the ordinance is imports and higher rate than before, getting employment for people in hotels and other projects that were built for tax breaks by the city of providence. >> i cannot control the way that some candidates run their campaign. i understand why they think attacking me is one of the only ways they can win this race. i do not have control over the way they run their campaign. i control the way i run mind. i will continue to talk about the important issues -- high unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, oil gushing into our oceans come up our military in afghanistan.
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i am very proud of the work we have done in providence. we have eight ridings from all of our rating agencies. -- we have a-ratings from all of our rating agencies. we worked very hard this year. we did not raise the car talks are the property tax. we worked closer with a lot of communities. in a recession, the last thing we should do is raise taxes. so we put together a budget that responsibly manages our services and manages our deficit. for seven years, we have had seven balanced budgets. for this year, we are retiring $70 million of debt in the next two years. we are actually reducing our debt. this is really about hard work as a city. we protect residents from a tax increase. we would not have been able to do that except for very
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responsible fiscal policies for the last seven years. >> mr. segal made a reference to an ordinance passed 23 years before he took office. no one spoke about it. no one implemented it. when i took office, we implemented that for the first time in 23 years. i am happy to report hundreds of people have been fired. the suggestion -- she had a birthday party for the 20 year anniversary for his wife. while he was having cake, i was busy implementing. [applause] >> we have a birthday party to draw attention to the fact it was 20 years old and not yet implemented. but organized a lawsuit that went before judge fortunado. he decide what the plaintiff that organized -- that argued
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the ordinance was not being sufficiently enforced. more people are at work today in providence because of those efforts. [applause] >> mr. lynch, we are going to start with you on this one. do you believe there should be term limits in congress? obviously, we know you shouldn't -- you figure they should be. what women do you think there should? >> i understand what the mayor would want to talk about national issues and not providence. i do not think that is the proper way to handle this campaign. i will continue talking about the real problems. on your question, i think i am the only one who has said i believe in term limits. i am the only candidate who has said that we need term limits in
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congress. if we are going to clean up washington and stop depolluting power of money, special interests, and lobbyists, we have to do something significant, not a level around the edges. the only way we are going to change from washington works is to put term limits in place so people go down there for a set time to do public service and to do not become public politicians that surround themselves with corrupt influences. the answer to the last part of your question is a thing 12 years is ample time for someone to go to washington, do some public service, and go back to their state and do something else. i have said that even if it does not pass, which i believe it will -- 12 years is six years -- is to terms in the senate. >> what does that say about senator ted kennedy, who served for a very long time in congress
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starts >> there are exceptions to every rule, but you cannot carve up individual exceptions if we are going to fix a terribly corrupt and polluted system. the answer is that those individuals, including jack reed, who i have supported and have had many opportunities to do great work in the senate and house -- we have come to a point where washington is so badly broken that if we do not do something significant it is never going to change. we are never going to fix it. i myself have said i would comply with this. the biggest and most important tool to clean up washington is to impose term limits on people who go there. >> i go back to claiborne pell. the pell grant was done in his 12th year. as good a statement as hamper,
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under this proposal, -- as good as him, under this proposal, it would not be eligible for the election. i have created a measurement tool that would be on the website. the citizens would be able to see immediately how other elected official is operating. within two years, if i am not delivering and results, forget about six years. forget about four. i would not seek a second term. i am so certain that with transparency for citizens mccann deliver a result they can see and measure. >> it is mr. lynch right? >> reform is an issue of work long and hard on. i founded the rhode island
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chapter of a group called fair vote. i sat before the u.s. house and senate on the issue of electoral reform. i believe we need to do things to open up our systems of governance. i believe in passing a pair elections law that removes the influence of corporate tax dollars from our system. that is the thing into undertake first. that will provide drastic change to the way people feel about their government and about who controls the government. if we implement such laws and people are still feeling as cynical as the bill today, and i understand why, i would be happy to reconsider a term limit. >> i have a different view of it. i believe we will not take washington -- we will not break what is broken in washington until we break the connection between money and policy. we need to pass the third elections act, which will remove the influence of big money in
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campaigns. we need to enact a ban -- a lifetime ban that you can never become a lobbyist if you were a member of congress. we need to mitigate as much as we can the decision of the supreme court so corporations cannot influence elections. if we do not fix that, being limited to six years or 10 years, you would still operate in a broken system because of the power of money over campaigns and a special interests. by breaking the connection, you will amount brokers to make decisions based on chores, free from this disproportionate influence of special interests in washington. i believe if the voters have that opportunity there will make the right decision. i think it is wonderful of chairman went to talk about 12
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years. the reality is we are all asking voters to give us a two-year term. if we do not give good results, we will be out that first term. [applause] >> mr. cicilline has said it is one or the other on term-limit or fair elections. >> what we have to realize, if we are going to be truthful about how to fix washington, is that is not going to solve the problem. what that will do is simply put people in a position where they can maybe run for office if they are not independently wealthy. it is not going to fix the problem. the problem is that we have career politicians to go there. they surround themselves with special interest money and everything we know is bad in washington. that results in what we see today. we are not going to fix that
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problem by saying we are going to have fair elections on its own. it is not going to work. >> this e-mail comes from a recent college graduate from 2009 who is struggling to make the student loan payments. she wonders if it was worth it. what would you propose a federal legislature to help out the millions of students in the same situation to give more leeway to pay off loans? >> there have been some recent positive reforms that have removed the middle man from federal loans for higher education. i think that is a step in the right direction, to reduce costs by reducing the percentage of the moment goes toward private profit. i believe that in general we need further investment from the federal and state government.
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i pushed against private education on the state level. i do equivalent work in washington right now . >> it is the middle class in rhode island that is suffering from the cost of higher education. i hear about it every day. there have been some good things the democratic party have done under president obama by cutting out the middleman. the bottom line is that we need to have families who can afford to send their children to college. right now i am convinced one of the reasons we have such a high dropout rate is because people are so frustrated at the fact that are not going to be able to afford higher education that it becomes a case where they give up. it is incumbent upon the congress and the federal government to make college more affordable. one way to do that is to make sure there are adequate loan programs in place for everybody,
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not just those that have no money at the very bottom of the spectrum. clearly those at the top do not need the assistance. the people getting squeezed out are in the middle. >> i think i am the only one to have a specific plan on this issue. when i watch my campaign, and went to a university to talk about the proposal to amend the higher education act to provide college loans for college and a career technical academies interest free to middle-class families. we currently are not $23 billion in interest a year from the mound. some of the loans are at 7% or 8%. on average, a college graduate earns twice as much as a non- college graduate. if you look at the income that is generated, it is in our best interest as a government to have as many people have access to college as possible.
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we will make it up on the other end in texas. there will have lifetime earnings. it is good for our country. interest free is a smart investment. it will allow the children of many more families to have access to college. [applause] >> we are also in the process of putting together a plan with specific but not. i think i am the only one who has a plan to get citizens back involved with their government. we are working for a plan that allows a 13th year of school to be paid for it for free so we can continue the education from high school into college so we can help further the education. there is a disconnect between what is happening at the state and federal level as far as education is concerned. our state has 300,000 jobs available. we do not have an educated work
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force to take those jobs. fidelity has 150 jobs. we do not have the work force to go into this jobs. there is a disconnect from future plans and what has happened. that is unfortunate. [applause] >> we will move on to foreign policy issues. the israeli prime minister was in washington d.c.. should we look the other way if israel and bombs and tehran to take up a nuclear plant? >> i would say no. israel is an ally of the u.s.. we should use all forms of diplomacy to make sure that does not happen. they are an ally. we need to protect our relationship with them. >> i do not think we should ever look the other way. that is obviously an important region of this world. we need to remain deeply engaged. we also have to recognize that israel like every sovereign nation has an absolute right to
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defend itself. >> . israel is our most important partner in that area of the world. they need to be able to defend themselves. looking away i think is not appropriate. i would hope and expect the united states would monitor the situation. but it it got to the point where israel was convinced there was an accurate intelligence that iran was moving forward with regard to nuclear weapons, i think israel has to be able to defend itself. i do not think the united states can tell them not to. >> should we look the other way if they bomb and nuclear energy facility? >> i am talking about a nuclear weapon. >> absolutely not. i think we need to look more generally toward a diplomatic resolution of international crises. i did not hear the question in full.
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>> let us move on to another of your question. the housing and construction boom that led up to the economic crisis has left providence which toured with half finished developments, empty lots, and foreclosed homes. how can you prevent these kinds of outcomes in the future? >> i have worked in the general assembly on a bill a pushed forward this year that would have required the developers who wanted to tear down historic buildings in downtown providence, which is in my current district, to put forward greater assurances there were going to move forward with the project that they had promised us. that is what allowed them to be permitted to tear down buildings. i hope that work continues at the local level. i am sure there is some federal
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plan. more broadly, i think we need to keep the economy moving, get it on its feet to the stimulus measures we talked about earlier, so some of these projects come to completion. >> what can a congressman do to help beat foreclosed home crisis? >> i do not think any one person here has the answer. that is one reason i am proposing an executive report for the state of rhode island. that would get congressional delegations together at the same table as our state delegations. there would be at the same table. collectively, they need to work. if you fail to plan, plans fail. in this situation, we have failed to plan and therefore are failing.
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>> i think there is no question that the most important thing is really good financial regulatory reform so banks are not allowed to do what they did in this case which led to these foreclosures and predatory loan practices. in addition, we want to do everything we can to keep people in their homes. there is a range of things to be done in this city, new programs that provide low-interest rounds -- loans, first-time home buyer assistance. one of the other challenges we face across the state more congressional action could help is in many of these properties more banks are out of state and for clothes, they abandon them but still have the title to them. you have a cdc or another organization that can take them over and bring a family into them. but there is a problem because of the title. i think some legislation that could clear title in those situations nationally is one issue.
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another is to require a foreclosed property -- a requirement that people who are in those homes, paying rent, would be able to stay in those homes. that is a way to stabilize neighborhoods. >> i have had an issue that i have raised before that the mayor has been in the neighborhood of $500,000 per year being driven around providence but police officers. >> i will tell you exactly how. that total is millions of dollars of providence taxpayer money that could have been used to save taxes that would otherwise go into foreclosure. that is for you do it. to answer a question, nationally, we have to continue to be vigilant and move forward to stop predatory lending practices that led to this. i would not have supported and $800 billion bailout of wall street and big banks unless they
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also came to the table and agreed to unnecessary financial reforms that would have stopped these foreclosures. >> look forward. you would not have signed the tarp bill. >> the same theory holds true that lending has to be made available. it also funds to be increased oversight of these big banks who have engaged in this practice that have effectively ruined the housing market across the country. >> i somehow missed the foreclosure piece of that question. i heard the abandoned lots. i agree with a lot of what the others appear have said. we need a strong banking reform bill. there is one moving forward that has passed the house and is before the senate. the couple of senators are trying to break up the banks so we do not see a crisis like the one that precipitated the crash of our economy. too big to fail could be something we need not worry about in the future.
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at the state level, i have worked on for closure measures. i give the city of providence credit for the measures they have undertaken. >> you are big on pointing out your efforts to bring green energy to rhode island. i am sure everyone on the stage things green energy is a good idea. but at what cost? do you support an increase in gas taxes to fund green energy? >> that depends on the magnitude. the cost that we pay at the pump does not include the full cost of the production -- of the extraction of those fossil fuels or the remediation of bad health effects and environmental effects that follow. that follow from the use of fossils that are not accounted for in the price we pay now, but that
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we end up paying poured down the line to increased health costs and clean up in the gulf. i think it is reasonable to pay more for energy me know is safe, is clean, that keeps jobs in rhode island. >> in what areas do we pay more for energy? are you talking about an increase in electric rate? >> i voted to support the wind farm project because i think it will position rhode island to be the hub of renewable energy that it should be through the northeast. if we are the first in the water, i think it will send clear signals to the rest of the country and the rest of the world that rhode island is serious about renewable energy. we have a geographic advantage because of the abundance of wind and water cure. i think that is worth spending a small premium. >> we cannot afford, and our
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businesses cannot afford, higher taxes. we also, unfortunately, cannot afford to keep sending billions of dollars overseas to countries that want to hurt us because we need their oil. we have to, in a reasonable, realistic path, move forward to green energy. i am happy we are starting to do that in rhode island. the important issue that cannot be lost if we have to do it in a way that makes financial sense. penalizing businesses in rhode island with higher energy costs at a time when we cannot afford to lose a single additional job here is of great concern to me, and should be to everybody. >> i think this is an example where we have done this work and not just talk about it. we developed a plan which is underway right now to support sustainable energy and the development of sustainable
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energy in our city. we absolutely have to invest in renewable energy -- solar, wind, etc.. >> at what cost? are we looking at higher gas tax >> we have to do it. it is one of the most important ways we can retain our position as an economic world leader. there was recently a chinese company that came to rhode island. everybody was celebrating because there were manufacturing wind turbines. this is technologically -- this is technology we developed. our universities developed it. it is something we should be manufacturing. this is a key strategy for this country and our state, to rebuild our economy, to create jobs that ultimately will ensure the long-term health. >> the original question is -- >> you have to do it in a way that is balanced and that targets the right level of investment. there will be an upfront cost,
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but the benefit in the long term is greater. >> did you like what you heard there? >> if you fail to plan, plan to fail. the renewable energy that is available, there are other alternatives that allow us to lower the costs so that are not passed back to the taxpayers. we need to embrace green jobs. we talked about lessening our dependence on foreign oil forever. there are ways to do it. we need to do it now. >> if you would push back on an increase in gas tax or a higher electric rates to fund green energy? >> i would. >> thank you gentlemen. we are out of time. i will give it back to my colleague. [applause] >> thanks, tim. thanks gentleman. that is going to wrap things up on this debate.
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we are going to have complete analysis coming up at a time clock following the game and at 11:00. we want to thank the providence performing arts center, the audience here, and the audience at home. you can see this debate began on our website. have a great night. [applause] >> the primary is september 14. this race is likely democratic. next, the final michigan governor's republican primary debate. we will hear from michigan state senator tom george, state attorney general my cicilline -- a cox mike, bouchard mike, and
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hoekstra peter -- and peter hoekstra. >> of life from oakland university, decision 2010, the republican gubernatorial debate. >> good evening. welcome to our exclusive coverage of the final republican gubernatorial debate. we are coming to you from the metabolic it hurt in rochester. tonight, the candidates will address the issues you believe are important. i know because he hoped the fashion the questions from the dozens of phone calls and e- mails that have come in over the last couple of weeks.
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the rules for the debate -- each candidate will have a one-minute opening statement. at the end of the evening, we will get a 36 and closing statement. in between, there will be a question and answer question. i will answer the questions. candidates will have one minute to answer a question. each of our candidates is allotted to rubato offerings we are pleased to have with us tonight three weeks before the michigan primary senator george, mike cox, and congressman hoekstra. senator george, we will begin
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with you. >> just as many of you are facing financial hardships, our state is nearly broke. it is approaching bankruptcy. in order to preserve our solvency, we have to cut spending. the biggest expense in state government has become health care. as a physician governor, i know what is needed to fix this dysfunctional of programs. the missing element -- personal responsibility. in contrast, my opponents are promised massive tax cuts and spending increases. that is the secret formula for political success which has given us $13 trillion of federal debt. additionally, we have a wonderful opportunity this november to approve the call for a constitutional convention to reform government itself and reopen michigan for business. i am the only candidate who seize the advantage in that. join my team, and together we will fix michigan.
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>> sheriff mike bouchard? >> many of you know me as the oakland county sheriff. it is a job i am passionate about. i have been in office for the 11 years with this agency. but i am more passionate about is my children. if someone does not get in the job as governor and know what to do with a sense of urgency, our kids will join all of the other families that have left the state by necessity to find their future. that is unacceptable. i am the only one running that knows what to do and how to do it and is willing to do it because i was part of doing it in the '90s. when i left the senate, we were ranked one of the best states in america to grow a company. we have to get jobs back to keep our kids and families here. for me is about the next generation, not the next election. i will do whatever it takes to
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change the dynamics are my kids and yours have a future in the state. >> mike cox. >> i am asking for your vote. i would like to thank those of you who are viewing. 60 years ago, my parents came to this great country. they chose to go to the economic engine of america -- michigan. we have fallen over the past 60 years. when parents enjoy the prosperity of michigan. the promise of prosperity is being lost for our children. it will take strong leadership. we will have to reduce the size of state government and push through a $2 billion tax cut which will provide relief pull every working man and woman in the state, and job creators as well. please join me and my fellow partners in the michigan chamber of commerce in this campaign to
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create a resurgent and reform commission. thank you. >> our final opening statement is from congressman pete hoekstra. >> we have all heard the stories. they are our friends. they are our neighbors. the american dream, the michigan dream, has been taken away from them. it has been taken away because government has gotten in the way. all across the state, assure the stories of people who have wanted to invest, who have wanted to grow to achieve their dream and their vision. the state has created all kinds of barriers. we need leadership that we do not have in lansing today that says the status quo is unacceptable. we are going to create an environment where we are going to attract capital. we are going to streamline and reduce the cost of government. we are going to reform the worst
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tax code in this country so we can get michigan moving again. >> you often mr. opening statements on exactly the 62nd mark. on your answers, i will be polite but worthless when it comes to time. let us start with jobs. you've spent a long time talking about credit and more business friendly climate in michigan. there is a divide in the race over what a governor can do when it comes to creating jobs. but given that two out of every three e-mails are received in this debate has been about jobs, that is where a question begins. senator george, what is your plan? >> state government is not going to create the million jobs that were lost here. but they can make an environment that is conducive to job growth. it regulates businesses. it invests in infrastructure. it educate our children. all of those things are important to facilitate jobs
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growth. the require resources. those have been shifted to social programs, welfare and medicaid. we used to have 500 people working in michigan -- 5 million people working and 1 million on state aid. now have 4 million people working and -- 400 million people working and 3 million on state aid. michigan has to remain solvent. it cannot afford tax cuts or do any of those things until we have cut spending so we can balance our books. that is the order of the day. >> i do not believe government creates one job. what it does is punishes job critters and sends them elsewhere. michigan is in competition with other states and other nations. until we realize that and focus on being competitive, it will continue to happen. i believe we have to realize that if our hammers cost more
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and our line is longer, they go to another state or another country. once we are competitive, they will come here and grow. that is what we did when i was a senator in the '90s. we cut taxes, cut spending, reforming our regulatory process so businesses could go and compete here. it is like the movie "field of dreams." if you build it, they will come. you create the environment where men and women grow a company. they will come here if we create that. that has to be the singular focus of the next governor. >> imagine going to a mall tomorrow, and you walk up to a store and the store says "come shop with us. we have the third highest prices in the mall." would you go to the store? of course not. but we have the third highest
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business tax in the country. is it any wonder we are second in the country in unemployment? that hundreds of thousands of our citizens are looking for work? your friends, your neighbors? what do we do? let us for that price. let us reduce the size of state government. under my plan, we can do a $2 billion tax credit which will move michigan to the seventh best. if we do that, we will have freedom, prosperity, and opportunity. that is why groups like the michigan chamber of commerce are on my team. thank you very much. >> it is about time we are on the side of the people in this great state. they say get government out of the way. ryan builds power plants. he is now laid off. the power plant she was working on in wisconsin is completed. he was excited because he
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thought he would be able to build the power plant in roger city. but government got in the way. this governor said no. bill is in the tree harvesting business. the state says you cannot harvest trees anymore. we are changing the lives not only of bill and his family but for generations to come. tamarine runs a business in southeast michigan. the michigan tax cuts as you are better off if you go out and buy a used equipment. the other than by the best equipment that can compete globally, it creates an environment that allows the people of michigan to achieve their dreams. get government out of the way. >> we have ever bought a request from senator george. >> on monday to imagine going to a state that cannot pay its bills, a state where the truck to the local university bounces or is march it insufficient
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funds. a state like california, that has a republican governor. you are going to eliminate the michigan business tax in your first month in office. that is a pipe dream. we have a $2 billion shortfall. the state needs to remain solvent. businesses will not come to a state that cannot pay its bills. >> i would like to talk about china. several civic leaders have been dismayed to republicans are doing with each other over sending jobs to china. and number of firms have left some work to china and have done so and crown their footprint here in michigan because of that. amway is the most noteworthy example. we have a governor who has been criticized for saying she would create jobs who has not visited the world's hottest economy. business leaders fear the four of you have a similar china phobia.
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is china its threat or an opportunity for you? >> i think the problem and the challenge has been for this governor and his administration -- she has been focused on chasing jobs elsewhere at the expense of companies here. i was one of only four republicans in the senate in march of 1995 that voted against the creation of mega, who give companies around the world tax breaks at the cost of companies here. men and women want to start companies here. by choosing companies around the globe and subsidizing them at the expense of those here, which ignore our own stability. it is understood -- unsustainable. do i want our companies to be
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global? absolutely. we first have to make sure that michigan can have business. >> i think perhaps those business leaders became a little confused because one of the folks in the campaign who is not your claimed to be a job creator. none of the jobs were created here. they are all in the pacific rim. that being said, china is an opportunity be ought to take advantage of. gm sells more cars to china than they do in north america. as a gm realize itself, as ford realigns itself, we have design and engineering talent in michigan. i see 10 years from now, when china, india, indonesia, and brazil want to buy great american cars designed right here in michigan. but i will tell you that i do
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plead guilty to being a tax cutter. my tax cuts would make us more competitive. >> i may be have an interesting perspective, being on the intelligence committee. today, china is a threat. china cheats. they cheat on national-security issues and they cheat on economic security issues. until we hold chunmei accountable to the agreements to make with us, whether it is national security or trade, there are a threat. they need to live by the agreements and we need to hold them accountable. when they hold accountable, they become an opportunity. on our side, we need to make sure we put in place the right policies that enable michigan and american workers to compete on a global basis, if we put in bad tax policies and a bad bureaucracy with too much red tape and government spends too
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much, where we are putting a burden on our workers that makes it difficult for them to compete on a global basis. >> that is time congressman. >> we need to look for opportunity where we can find it, including china. the growth is going to be in small business. i am the only one who works in small business. i am a practicing physician. for the last decade, i have done both. that is where the growth is going to be. we need to focus on the global environment. a business assistance department to help businesses with permiting. that is something we can do. we can swept away rules and regulations for small business growth. that is the engine of the economy. the sheriff says he is against picking winners and losers, but he said she was in favor of a
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specific winner. listen carefully to the candidates and what they say when they are in front of different groups. we do not need candi to pander to groups and promised tax cuts and spending increases. >> lansing and washington are pretty polarized places. it has become customary for one party to amass enough votes to pass something unilaterally while the other party hopes it fails. we have had two governments shut down in michigan in the last three years, and work on the current state budget is developing that familiar odor. what are you going to do to create opportunity for bipartisanship in lansing? >> i will do what i do as attorney general. i will put forth strong ideas and follow through with leadership. partisanship flourishes with a lack of leadership. people did not complain about
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partisanship when john engler was in office. they were getting some things done. when you have a situation with this current governor, who does not provide leadership, you end up with more sniping. allies realize it is not worth sticking with her. political opponents realize they can outlast her. i'll be a strong leader. i will emphasize the things i learned in the marine corps and the things i have done as attorney general, standing up for the right thing and building a coalition. that is what i have done day in and day out as attorney general. that is why i am endorsed by the michigan chamber of commerce. i understand it team building. >> i will do the same thing i have done in all of my professional career. working to bring together teams of people from a diverse variety
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of backgrounds to bring to market new products. in congress, and to cease and business skills and year's end to pass intelligence reform. i worked with people like joe lieberman, susan collins, and others, humming a shared vision for keeping american safe and being willing to compromise to get to a solution and at the end of the processing, "it is not everything i would have hoped for, but it is better than what we had before and it moves us in the right direction." i worked to protect michigan jobs. maile co-sponsors were john conyers and barney frank. an ability to focus on the issues and to focus on solutions and get the job done. >> i am the candidate with the best record of bipartisan accomplishment. i have served in the legislature
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for 10 years in a term limited and burma. i have had to work with democrats and found a way to do it. one of my bills was end of life care legislation. i am a physician. it was to facilitate better care for dying patients. i have also worked on smoke-free air legislation that would not have passed without my help. right now, i am working on a bipartisan package of bills to facilitate new uses for abandoned properties. there are nearly 70,000 in detroit, the face of michigan to the outside world. bipartisanship is going to be necessary, not giving up on one's principles but working together with the other side to get things done for the common good of the citizens of michigan. >> with all due respect, i do not think the last eight years have been a success story. i believe we need to move things forward in a dramatic way. that is what i did. i was a majority floor leader in the senate.
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before that, i was the assistant. i have been in the leadership and no hard to get votes. that is what the leader does. the governor does not introduce one bill or have a boat. the legislature has to be moved. you have to know the process. i am the only one who has been a leader in the michigan legislature and got some things done. the average legislator would press one bill every year. i averaged 10 every year. here is an important fact to know. next year, there will be 55 of a thousand state representatives that are brand milk. we cannot afford to have a governor with training wheels. we need someone that knows the system, the process, and the issues. that is what i will be on day one. >> with the other industrial states of the midwest, michigan needs not only changes in its business culture but also in its reputation. it has been a non-starter issue
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for years in the city. some believe it is time for debate over right to work. do you support the right to work barks >> i am going to focus on the issues that are going to put people in michigan back to work. there is going to be a focus like a laser on those kinds of issues. if we go to right to work, we are going to again create divisions in the state between business and labor, between republicans and democrats. to get right to work past, he would have to go to the ballot. you would have to go to an initiative. michigan would have an era of uncertainty of 18 months. that would poison the well. it would not let us embark on the job of changing rules and relations. it would make it more difficult to cut the cost of government need to cut to make sure our state is competitive, and would
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not enable us to do what needs to be done in terms of performing texas. right to work will not be a priority in my agenda. >> right to work is one of a series of reforms that are needed to turn michigan around. the others are getting a part- time legislature, and getting better budgeting rules, reviewing the rules of local government. oakland county has 62 townships and 28 school districts. michigan has a government structure it cannot afford. the best opportunity to make those changes is a constitutional convention. directors of our fourth constitution in the '60s knew this time would come. they put a provision in the current constitution saying that every 16 years people would have a choice of reviewing the constitution. that will be on the ballot this fall. if you want major structural reforms, this is our best opportunity. all of my opponents are in favor
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of the structural reforms, but there is no way they can do it without turning a constitutional convention back to the people. that is the key to bringing michigan back to business. >> i believe michigan made to be bold in the future and send a clear simon are open for business. anything that stands in the way of future business opportunities, including a blueprint for prosperity -- i talk about a part-time legislature, part-time pay, no benefits, a budget done by may 15. every day after that, the government and legislatures lose a day. that would be independently verified by an outside economist. we can do these things without an expensive constitutional convention that could cost up to $40 million of money we do not have. what we need to do is selectively go in and fix the problem across the board, said it out to the people for an
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affirmation borrowed. i will do as i said in the beginning -- whenever it takes to keep our families in the state. that means taking on any special interests that stands in my way. >> i grew up in a union household. i have uncles retired out of the uaw. my brother works on the line right now. i belong to two different unions in my lifetime. that being said, i will consider anything and everything that will move michigan ahead to create jobs. i believe the first focus for us to be on our tax and spending structure. it can go to my website, you will see the details of my $2 billion tax credit and $4 billion reduction in spending. my doctor right now lives right outside memphis. she lives in a right to work
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state. the reality is in the past 10 years as we have shrunk down the per capita wealth, we are now 37. 49 to work states have passed us by. that is where our children are growing and our jobs are going. we have to consider everything. >> share of bouchard and i share an interest in the structural reforms. 11 of the 16 he calls for our constitutional in nature. the republican party just try to get a measure on the ballot to oppose obamacare. they did not get even have the signatures needed. you cannot form a government with a constitutional convention. i trust the citizens of michigan to do right thing. >> arizona has been a crystal ball for us on the immigration debate.
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there has been a great deal of passion and volatility. would you like to see michigan adopt a similar approach? >> there is a duty to protect our borders, but right now the challenge is migrant workers we depend on. michigan would be best served by a temporary worker program managed by the federal government so we can be sure that people who are here to work temporarily or cure properly and legally. that is the thing the federal government can do to focus. they need to protect our borders, but we cannot abandon our agricultural industry. we have two sons. one is a help wanted. the other is go away. it cannot give mixed messages. we have to fix that system. it is the federal government picked duty to do it. >> i serve on the joint terrorism task force. there are a number of issues
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related to home and security. i was asked by a reporter what i think about illegal immigration. think about that for a second. i have been in law enforcement 24 years. if it starts with a legal, i am going to be against it. [laughter] somehow, that is not clear to the folks in washington. i will uphold the law. i will sue the federal government for its failure to do their job, failure to secure our borders, and inflicting economic costs on our state they have driven here, and not least of which that the northern border is twice as long as the southern border and has won have of the checkpoints. this is an important moment security issue and a rule of law issue. >> i think the guy next to you has similar hangups about legality. >> my mom carried her green card
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religiously for years before she became a citizen. she would keep it right next to her driver's license. i do not think it is unreasonable for folks who are permitted to come to this great country to provide documentation when stopped by the police, if it is a reasonable stop. i was just talking about that with the governor of arizona. i am leading the charge, gathering other states to intervene tomorrow in the federal court out in arizona, to stand with arizona and other states to defend our borders and defend our rights under the constitution, to defend the idea that states should be allowed to work with the federal government to keep illegal immigrants outside of our country. that is a common-sense idea. i will stand up on this issue as i have stood up against obama care, standing up for you. >> it was a few years ago i had
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the opportunity to go down to the border in arizona. this affects everyone across the country. i went down to the border because a young man who had a dream to go work in our national parks was able to fulfill that dream, but she went to oregon point in arizona. in his duties along the border, he came across illegals coming into the country. he was outgunned and he was killed. it is a national security issue for arizona. it is a public safety issue. it is an economic security issue. if the federal government is not going to enforce the law, it is not going to enforce the borders. governor moore and the people of arizona have the right and responsibility to do that. but we all need to stand together and demand the federal government do its job to secure the borders.
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>> our next question -- i got e- mails from people who wonder at the purpose of public employment. i could not help but notice that all four of you are publicly implored. some of you are on the second or third position in a publicly- funded occupations. this may seem an indelicate question, but i am curious what the value of your pension as the that you are expecting from the public employment you have enjoyed. . .
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they did a blended plan. -- i am proud to be a public servant.
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i am the one person that does not have a defined pension. you can go look at my website. you can look at mine assets and you can look at my pension and you can look at what my wife and i make. i do agree with everyone out there the premise of what anyone has anything beyond a 401k these days. i have a 401k. it has been hammered just like yours has. >> i must have missed about you of your pension. >> i am on a defined contribution. $1,500 or $2,000, i never looked at it. >> from the time i was a marine, a homicide prosecutor, to being attorney general -- i am the one person on the stage to does not have a defined-benefit pension. i do not know the number, but you can look at my website and you can look at all my assets. you can look at by pension. you can look at what my wife and i make. i am proud to show you all of my assets. there is no conflict of interest. i agree with everyone out there that the premise of why anyone
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has anything beyond a 401k these days escapes me. however, we do need pension reform. i have a 401k that has been hammered just like yours has. look at the website. i do not know today. it depends on the stocks. >> that is time. >> the point of the question is exactly right. to many public-sector workers still have our range of benefits and salaries that are significantly higher in the private sector. federal employees, of which i am one, i have the same benefit plan that every federal employee has. we still receive a defined- benefit plan, just like many public servants in michigan. federal employees, federal office holders, which followed in the same direction to define contributions -- to defined contribution. it brings equity between public workers and private sector employees. working for the state and federal government, county government -- it needs to be a good job. it cannot be an elite job. it cannot receive better pay and better compensation than what the people we work for received.
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>> senator? >> he is not the only one up here with a defined-benefit contribution plan. i have for 1 k plan as well. this date switched to that in the late-1990's. -- i have a 401k plan as well. this state switch to that in the late-1990's. go to my website and scroll through the press releases where i have linked my tax returns. you can read all about me and my plan to fix michigan. it involves public employee retirement reform. i am the only one who has voted for that. i have also voted for state employee retirement reform. i actually have votes on record. like mr. cox, i have a 41 k -- but 401k. >> you all have health care for life, is that correct? among them is not correct. -- >> that is not correct.
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>> one local school district -- it is below will issue -- though definitive issue. the last two governors have played dramatic roles in this. i will you creates excess -- how will you create success in the state's largest, but sadly, most troubled school district? >> i worked for 13 years as a prosecutor. i saw many of the children who graduated from detroit public- school. whether you call the gates foundation, which has a graduation rate as low as 23%, it is an obama-nation. it is an economic and social and moral bill.
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we have to change that. i am proud to represent robert bob, doing a greatgjob as -- a great job as efm. we need to take some of the recommendations, including more charter schools. we need alternate teacher decertifications. we need an engineer to be able to teach a great match. -- eighth grade math. when we love to compete. we need to see how every school is doing. >> that as time. congressman. >> local schools, local school districts. the competition between who is running the schools locally, the state, and there was this bill called no child left behind, which took control from local school districts, by
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passing lansing, to go all the way to washington. we have forgotten about important ingredients in education reform. it isn't about the system. it is about the kids. they deserve high-quality education. it is their future. the system has failed them. we have forgotten about the most important ingredient -- having a caring adult in their lives. we need to do all that we can to reform public education and create a system that opened the doors into a city like detroit of private and parochial education. >> i like the fact that the city is using robert brock, the former city manager from kalamazoo, to help support its problems. parental choice and involvement is the driver in student
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performance. giving parents engaged in their children's education is key. -- getting parents engaged in their children's education is key. i support the expansion of charter schools. we have trouble funding our schools. we have 551 school districts. 21 in oakland county. the layers of local government stem from our territorial days and are no longer affordable. we need major structural reforms to diminished administrative costs and drive more money into classrooms. the best way to do that is by constitutional convention. you'll not get the change you need without that. you can talk about reform, but if you don't change the constitution, it will not happen. >> we faced some of these very same and actually worse problems when i was the chairman of education. we did charter schools and a lot of the things that haven't talked about. it is important. it is abysmal that we of one of the worst graduation rates in
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america. it is not acceptable. we're throwing away a generation. our children need the opportunity for a better future. i believe in charter schools, parental choice, and one of my friends once talked about freedom schools where parents could gather together the parents of the school to make changes and take control of the school. who has a more best interest in that? someone who was a bureaucrat in washington, or the parent? i say the parent. it is time to empower parents, students, teachers. >> rebuttal from congressman hoekstra. >> it is great that we're talking about empowering parents. we need to give them the mechanism to do that. i have a proposal of their debt has been expected by republicans and democrats across the country -- out there that
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has been accepted by republicans and democrats across the country. people will voluntarily, with incentive from the state, contribute to public schools or parochial schools. >> that is time. senator george has brought this issue up a number of times. i know you were not wild about a constitutional convention, but it is on the ballot. when it is on the ballot, they typically pass. let's assume that a constitutional convention is coming. what should it address? >> there are a lot of things. the economic climate. the tax code. school funding. social issues.
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all of those things. if you vote for a constitutional convention, you will create an era of uncertainty in the state of michigan for probably one year and half with no certainty that a constitutional convention and a new constitution will actually pass. what happens when you have uncertainty? capital stays on the sidelines. businesses who are thinking about investing put off those decisions until they have a clear idea as to where they will be moving in the future. a constitutional convention will put michigan's economic recovery on hold for year-and-a- half at a minimum. there will be all kinds of good ideas talked about. there'll also be bad ideas. >> senator george, the question is yours. >> i disagree. the things that create the most uncertainty is the state going bankrupt. the congressman talked about
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education tax credits. that is a new expense. those are tax. it sounds great. attorney general cox has a measure to waive taxes for new graduates from college. i graduated this spring, i will not pay taxes, but i will get a check. it will be great. we'll have $2 billion worth of tax cuts, putting us in the hole for $4 billion. we agree to cut waste. there are millions of dollars there. cut our universities -- $1.4 billion. you are not even halfway there. fiscal insolvency is that threat, not a constitutional convention.
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>> share of bouchard -- sheriff bouchard. >> i do not believe in a constitutional convention. people have rejected it in the past. it costs about $40 million to have it. you get a huge document with the big yes or no vote. there could be a lot of bad things were a lot of good things or both. that is why i think we need to put it out in a readable and understandable way to fix one problem at a time. one vote, yes or no. people will know what they're voting for and they do not have to take the hooks with the rest of the fish. he did not know oakland county well enough to know that 14 of those committees contract with police for and with me.
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we share services. we to overhead in a consolidated manner. they get to make local decisions. lansing's fountain of wisdom has been broken. >> mike cox. >> thank you. the time and money would be horrible for michigan right now. we're the second worst in unemployment with hundreds of thousands of people looking for work right now. a constitutional convention would mean $45 million that we don't have. we would waste one year that the next governor needs to get going in order to give you a $2 billion tax cut and $4 billion in the reduction of the size of the state government. i disagree with tom. when the taxpayers get a tax cut, they do not get a check for the government -- from the government. they keep their own money and spend it as they want. would not need another garage -- we do not need another barrage right now. we have amended the constitution 31 times, including getting rid of racial preference.
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>> that is time. this question may be a bit esoteric. what do you suppose is the least popular position that you hold, but you would refuse to give up? >> it was probably voting for the smoke free air precision. the tax credits -- he has two of them in his plan. a tax credit for home renovation -- that is a check from the state, not a tax deduction. the second one is for elder care. look at his plan. tax cuts, more spending, it does not add up. as to consolidation and cooperation -- more power to him. you have 600,000 public employees in michigan. only 55,000 are state employees that the governor contracts with. if you want to decrease the size and scope of government in michigan and make it more efficient, the governor cannot do it alone. it shift power away from the
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governor and back to the people where it belongs. the question was about your least popular position. smoking. >> on my website, i talk specifically about something that is unpopular with many. that is to take, in the education process, food, transportation, etc., and bid it to share and consolidate services. we could probably save $250 million doing that. it is not public. we need to consolidate at every level. what we're doing now is unsustainable. it needs to be done across this state. as governor, i will drive that. this is not about being popular. i am willing to be a one-term governor. this is about the children. it is not about getting
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reelected or being popular. >> mike cox. >> thank you. the most unpopular thing i have proposed is up to $4 billion in government spending cuts. it would allow us to lower the tax rate and keep more jobs here. do you know that we would save $800 million if state employees like myself and school employees just had the average health care? get rid of the defined benefits for all brand new teachers. that is another $250 million. we start to run our prison system like indiana where it costs $10,000 less per inmate and save $600 million. the governor has started an indirect -- and earned income tax credit during the one of -- during one of the worst recessions that we have had. it has become a three in your $25 million boondoggle. -- $325 billion boondoggle. -- million boondoggle. congressman hoekstra. >> the topic that is the most difficult and the one that people on the street are ready
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for, but perhaps the political establishment is not -- that is to have a discussion about how we finance case through 12 education -- k through 12 education. parts of it have worked very well in terms of capping tax increases. part of it have not worked well, because our schools are in crisis. with an education system that is in crisis. -- we have an education system that is in crisis. i want all of our kids to get a great education. you the people will be the ones that make decisions about whether you accept the change
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or not. >> america has been in the midst of a great debate about health care. mental health care is not discussed. we cover her rent is crimes every week. i am stunned -- we cover horrendous crimes on the news every week. he believes 70% of the inmates in the county jail have some kind of mental illness. our corrections system appears to be our mental health system.
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the you have a plan to change that, given the lack of dollars? >> that is the way it is and it should not be. i was one of the few, as a senator, to vote against the closing of the lafayette clinic facility in detroit and the clinton valley facility. we're playing for it in one of the most -- paying for in one of the most cost-incentive -- cost-intensive sessions. we have between eight and 13%- 8% and 13% of my population on psychotropic med. where do we best serve them and our community and our taxpayers? it is not in jail or prison. there are alternatives. they are more cost-effective and more humane, and more efficient on every level. that is what i will do as american and i fought for as senator.
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>> mike cox. -- that i will do as governor. i fought for it as senator. >> mike cox. >> if you look at the structure across the state, there is a mixed bag of authorities and agencies. there are 25 or 26 different melt help -- different mental health agencies. why do we not run it like we run the medicare service? we did that out to the private sector -- bid that out to the private sector and do away with some of the agencies in the middle bureaucracy. we get more dollars to the patients that need it and have more transparency. that is my initial idea. i would be open to other ideas from experts in the field. >> as you go around the state, use the parts of the state are dealing with this in creative ways. there is a delivery of social services which is a key function of state government. it does not mean that it has to be done by state government. you going to kent county, where you have a unique collaboration
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of people coming together to serve the needs of people in the community who are in need. that may be a model for other parts of the state. it is probably not a single model that works all over. we need to provide the flexibility to local units of government, working in collaboration with the state, to design systems that fully involve the experts in the public and private sectors, and provide the services to people in communities who need them. it is a key issue and one that a lot of people have talked to me about. it needs to be addressed. we need flexibility and creativity to make it work. >> i worked in a psychiatric hospital for two years and sometimes it feels like i still do. [laughter] closing the psychiatric hospitals was not the wrong
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thing to do. the laws have not been sufficiently updated. i worked with then senator bernero. i'm not a preparations. i cannot let a couple things go by. we need to privatize, but you will not say to under $50 million. there are tens or maybe hundreds that you can say. when the sheriff says. it to renegotiate government, he says, all of the lead of gm and chrysler. remember, they went bankrupt first and then renegotiated. that is not the path to follow. >> share of bouchard -- sheriff bouchard. >> we have done a number of things specifically. we have a partnership with easter sales and -- easter seals and cma each -- and cmh. police agencies are looking at adopting these programs.
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we can do this better, cheaper, more humanely. >> thank you, gentlemen, that brings us to our closing statements. the hour has whizzed by. you have 30 seconds apiece. we will begin with senator george. >> thank you for watching. when you go to vote in three weeks, ask yourself, what does michigan need in its next governor? a career politician, help from washington, another attorney general, or a physician-governor who understands what is missing. personal responsibility. i understand the best way to fix michigan and make structural forms. join my team. we can fix michigan.
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>> thank you. >> thank you. to use an anachronism, the prescription for fixing lensing is send a share of the town -- lansing is send the sheriff to town. we have to get michigan back to work. i'm doing for my kids, your kids, the families in this state. i will do whatever i have to do to get it done. i am asking for your help, support, and prairies. join this sheriff's posse. >> try to stay within the time. >> thank you. if you want to fight the hill, get a marine to charge that hill. i am not marine. i learned that leadership matters.
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i have relearned that and applied that as a homicide prosecutor and as attorney general. i have stood up for you when it mattered. folks who understand leaders are on board with me. the michigan right to life, the chamber of commerce, job creators. >> time. >> michigan has suffered under a deficit of leadership. this is about electing a leader who understands that you have to check behind to make sure there are people following. those are the people that you work for. you serve those people. you are accountable to them. you have to leave those people with integrity and character.
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this election is all about leadership and doing the right things, and powering the people. >> gentlemen, thank you all for this evening. it has been a fascinating conversation. thank you to the people at home and the people who sent in questions. we're so glad you were with us. our thanks to this university. our conversation will continue over on the webcast. we will look closely at these issues. a couple of these candidates, maybe all of them, will make their way out to those weathercast cameras. -- webcast cameras. we're doing everything we can to help you be equipped as you can be as you head into the voting booth. that is three weeks from tonight. we have some undecided voters.
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we will have their reflections coming up tomorrow morning. make sure everybody was minding their peace and used -- p's and q's. a round of applause. see you later. >> the mission in the governor's campaign takes place on september 23. this debate was rated as a tossup. now, a tennessee governor's debate. we will hear from democratic canada they're seeking to replace phil bredesen. this event is about one hour. >> live from belmont university in national -- nashville, this is a statewide debate.
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thishville, is a statewide debate. >> good evening. not too long ago, the men who wanted to be president squared off in this hall. tonight, it is four men who wanted the governor. -- who want to be governor. . they are point to be asking the questions. first, they want to hear some answers. >> we are broadcasting tonight's program live from all over the state. reaching viewers and every television market in tennessee.
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we are also do something pretty cool. we have a live look vehement from the far ends of the state were pulled have gathered to watch. work -- >> and wherever you are in connect withs as well on facebook. here is a look at the page. it is the statewide debate. you can submit questions for the candidates or just share your comments. the facebook page is the statewide debate. >> the order on stage were selected by random drawing. not go near bill husted. businessman mike the quarter, lieutenant governor run ramsey. tonight's format is a little different. we have a combination of questions from the derators. videotape questions from voters
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around tennessee as well as questions from you via facebook. we will also have one or more chances for candidates to ask questions of each other. each candidate is going to have 30 seconds to answer each question. we will be keeping time on a clock in front o the stage and we have a backup system in case that clock should fail. when time is up, you will hear the sound. that bill means that time is up. we will have closing statements as well at the end of this program for all of the candidates to answer some questions and then close their statements out. the first questions will be coming from us. i think yo have the first question. >> gentleman, all candidates talk about fiscal responsibility and reducing speing. name one specific program you know that you will target t reduce spending.
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. >> let me s thank you to everyone here and the viewers across the strait. especially to the tennessean is that are standing in harm's wa on our behalf and i hope that they have a chance to vote as well. instead of in individual program, i think we are all one to have to tighten our belts. we have to pull down and get through this downturn. i think we are going to all have to reduce spending 3% or 4% starting next january. >> mr. haslam? >> a specific program we can do better is looking at how we do purchasing to read we spend $28 billion in tennessee and other states have done purchasing reform and have saved hundreds of millions of dollars. that is a great place for us to start. >> mr. mcherter.
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i think he has done a good job controlling our budget. i would not want to identify one specific thing that i would say that i would cut at this time. what i would want to say is i want to focus on job creation. if you get people back toork, we will have the revenue to run this state. >> mr. ramsey? >> it is obvious that i am the only one that has a plan. we're going to have to make of specific cuts. i want to look at what other states have done. we need to take the politics out of the appointments and job hiring, but also save money. we need to use the health department to provide primary care for our recipients. i have a lot of plants. i am one to be a governor that will jump at the bit to get there. >> power stations and their
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camera crews across the state to record questions from voters in all of the grand divisions. audience, you can watch on the big screen. candidates, look at t tv monitor to your right. >> our first voter question comes from right here in nashville. >> the united states is a union of immigrants. but i would like to know is during your term as governor, do you foresee tennessee taking a similar stance on immigration as arizona? >> we are a nation of immigrants. as mayor, i go to naturalization ceremonies all the time were you see people coming in illegally. illegal immigration is wher the government has not done their job and the states are paying the price for that. arizona is reacting because they see so much of it. in tennessee, we need to do the same thing. i propose to cut off the job
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source and it will turn and go home. >> i think that illegal immigration is the responsibility of the federal government. if we can secure the borders between north korea and south korea, we can secure our borders in our home country. i want to encourage the federal government tdo tt. i think that it is unfortunate that arizona had to pass that law. what i think is even more unfortunate is that the government is suing them over that. i want to make sure the federal government is doing their job, not trying to sue our individual states. >> mr. rancid? >> you are going to see some real differences here tonight. i am proud of gov. jim brewer and when i am governor, i would enact a law just like that. we are a nation of legal immigrants. the federal government is failing us and that is another
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area where the federal government is failing us. we can pass strong laws and test the citizenship of every person arrested in the state of tennessee. >> legal immigration has made our nation great and strong, but illegal immigration is a rule of law issue. the word illegal, we cannot get around that. arizona has done the right thing. ifhe federal government will not enforce immigration laws, the state government should have the right to do it. in the course of doing law enforcement, and they find somebody that is here illegally, they can remove them. i wod do the same thg. >> let's go to the auditorium. that is where bob sellers is. >> amanda, which you tell us a little bit about yourself. >> i am originally from
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knoxville, tennessee. now i live in nashville. >> what is your question? >> how would you dri innovation in public education around the state and what is your plan to move to tennessee from #42 to the top tended >> we will start with mr. mcwherter. >> i will be broke quick. i think that we need to keep a focus on prekindergarten. i think early childhood development is something that we need to focus on i applaud -- to focus on. as the next governor, i will be the next person to implement that program and i think it is terribly important that this goes with all the people in tennessee. >> i am not for universal prepaid. i think it takes money away from classes. we have to start thinking outside the box.
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what can we do best to use taxpayer dollars the best way. there are three classrooms and the students rotate between the classrooms. it's a is a tremendous amount of money and provides a good education. that is exactly what we will have to do to providethe best bang for the buck of taxpayer dollars. >> my 20/20 vision includes a specific early childhood reading initiative where we benchmark every child to see if they are meeting basic reading in basic math skills. if they are not, we will intervene. it is called corrective action to we will give them tools like phonic. good third grade readers are productive citizens. if you are not reading well by third grade, you're likely to drop out of high school. >> first, we need to raise
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standards. the higher standards, the better the results. every institution has a great leader. focus on those to make sure they are well-trained and well selected. at the end of the day, all of us have had teachers that may all of the difference in the world to us. we need to use that to help parents and teachers know when to intervene. >> the viewers are taking our advice and posting questions on facebook. first, a question from a viewer in the chattanooga market. >> i am a brick mason. i really have a question for the candidates. i would like to know why we cannot either cut or reduc the sales tax on food for low-income people.
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>> let me assure you that for several years, i have fought in income tax here in the state of tennessee. we are a sales tax base state. there are certain taxes we can't cut here in tennessee. this is a great place to live but a terrible place to die. we need to make sure that we ratchet down the income tax. we should ratchet that down to get a solid sales base and increase revenue by lowering these taxes. >> mr. -- mr. wamp? >> we should look at this only when the economy improves. right now, we need toeform the way state government does business and hold the line on spending. we cannot reduce things like this right now, but it will be one of the things that the
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legislator -- theegislature should consider with me. . building things to help grow and expand our economy, whave a problem in tennessee. we are $1.5 billion upside down. this is due to the removal of stimulus plan money. as much as we would like to talk about removing the sales tax, i do not think that we can do that until the economy turns around. >> here is where there is a real distinction between the democrat running in this race and the republicans. there is no question about my priority to my plan.
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my second priority is going to be about reducing the sales tax on groceries. if there is revenue to reduce tax on the state, that is great. our next round of questions should be pretty intesting. each engine and will ask a question of their choosing to one fellow and it. >> please let your questions to 15 seconds. >> i will ask mayor mr. haslam a question. when al gore first ran for president, you chose to give money to his campaign and now you say you are a conservative candidate for governor for tennessee to a little white was it worth your resources?
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>> i have an incredible track reco over a long period of years in a lot of candites that are strong conservatives that have helped move our state forward. >> i will return the favor. just two weeks ago, you said that you would not run negative ads on tv, but you found a commercial attacking me. why are you saying one thing and doing another? >> i did not say anything at all about what i would do. i said that i have precious resources and it was a limit on how to spend those precious resources. there is so much propaganda with all of your money about creating a person that is not mr. haslam.
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i will stand o the truth because it is time to stand on the truth. you are not the guy that all of your money says that you more. -- that you more. >> zak, maymr. haslam raised taxes. i think that is outrageous. i want to know what you think about it. >> i appreciate that. the higher you are on the flagpole, the harder the wind blows. here is what i will say about all of this. he is the only one who chose not to turn over his tax returns for information. you did it because you said that your dad was governor. this is a problem for tennessee. we need full disclosure and transparency, especially in our
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government. >> i think i should have the chance to answer a question that was really asked of me. >> i want to talk about disclosure because i have disclosed everything that is required. i have actually disclosed more than anyone on this stage has. everybody knows exactly what i own. there is no secret where my income comes from. i want to be real clear about that. >> mr. ramsey, ask your question. >> mr. haslam decided to join mayor bloomberg of mayors against guns. last march, he joined in oure. i want to know what changed your
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views on guns in the last year. >> that was long 15 seconds. >>i promise you that i will protect your second amendment rights. i joined a group focused on doing that. i am telling you face-to-face that i will protect your second amendment rights. >> thank you. >> we are coming to you live from the belmont university campus and we are debating the issu tonight. questions are coming from all across the state. >> here are some other groups that have gathered to watch tonight's exchange. the university of memphis campus and tennessee state
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university campus in johnson city. you have still got time to submit a question. let's go back to our town hall group. >> a thank you, very much. i am talking to tracy. she is a small business owner. could you tell us what your question is? >> my question is that the federal government has offered temporary tax breaks to small businesses in an effort to encourage employment in the current economic times. what is your plan on the state level to aid small businesses for the creation of jobs? fo>> mr. haslam? >> in the state, we have the same issue. we are $1.5 billion under water. small businesses are were jobs
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are created. about two-thirds of the new jobs in our state are created by small business. i do not think when we are $1.5 billion under water that we can start a new program. >> mr. mcwherter? >> there is no question in my mind that we do tax credits for large corporations whenever we bring them in here. we can have a similar program for small business in this state. i am the only candidate that has been advocating for that because we know that that ia proven model and that it will generate revenue. it puts people to work and they become consumers and the program pays for itself. that is something that only a small businessman can understand. >> mr. ramsey? >> i am the only one on the stage that has started two and businesses from scratch.
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i have been second to none on business issues because the way we get out of this environment that we are in is to grow a little bit. i figured out that they will get my way, i will create the jobs. >> we need clear leadership of the economy. we have a lot of advantages as a state. as i travel all 95 counties, small business is where the action is. i helped bring volkswagen to tennessee, but they will be hard to find financing. rural economic development is needed today outside of our major cities. >> we will have another town hall question, here. >> whitney, will you stand up
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please? >> i have been in tennessee since 2000. i work in the banking industry and marketing. >> what is your question? what's my question is, do you believe in intelligent design or evolution being talked in public schls? what's i think there is a place for talking about evolution i our schools. there is no question about that. the bottom line is that i much prefer a more traditional curriculum for our school students, especially at a very early age. we can blend of science and religion in that regard, and the to do not have to contradict each other. as long as we are responsible with it, we can give our students what they need to prss. >> i know that i was created by
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god. i understand that. that is what i want my children to learn. there may be a place for evolution in schools as well, but we need to tell both sides of this. god created us and the universe and god created everything we see, no and do. -- know and do. >> my world vi is that man is not the center ofhe universe, god is. we are made by him to serve him and to serve each other. i believe that it should be family policy and government policy. if there is we to be teaching of evolution in the schools, it should be alongside got it centered education. we have the bible in our schools.
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>> i believe in an intelligent designer and i think that we are created in the image of god. i also am not afraid of science being taught in school. i want to get the kind of feedback that w are getting at home. that does not scare me at all. >> gentleman, thank you. >> i am happy to report that we have dozens of comments on facebook. they are encouraging you to be real. that is what we are hearing tonight. we have a question from angela johnson. >> the question is, what is your stance on green power development and protecting the environment? >> mr. ramsey, we will start with you. >> we are leading the way in biofuels.
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at the same time, we have 200 years worth of coal in the ground and we have other natural products in the ground. we need science and emotion. we need this energy for -- that god gave us to use so that we do not buy energy from countries that want to ki us. >> yes, mr. wamp. >> for two years, i helped write the energy policy act of 2005 on the energy renewal policy. this is an opportunity for money. this is a great opportunity for us in manufacturing of new energy technology to help the world. we do it out of tennessee. this is a great opportunity. we can create the strongest economy in america and help the country. >> we have a great head start in
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tennessee. we are building down in bradley county and hemlock down in clarksville. we also have a research project. those solar projects are wonderful. eventually, we have to crack the nut of making solar market competitive. we have a chance to do that. if they do that, tenn. n be a real leader, not just in the production of solar power. but also the research. >> unlike mr. ramsey, i will be very real about this. i am totally against mountain top mining. i am delighted to know that the governor has led the way. tennessee is one of three states in this country. we have got to keep the focus on
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that. weekend built on a volkswagen being here and that will be my direction. >> back to the questions recorded on video. >> our next voter question comes from the heart of west tennessee, memphis. what's the regional medical center is critical. what would you, as the next governor, do to make sure that short-term and long-term by militants of the med? >> i lost a campaign a few months ago -- i launched a campaign a few months ago that mehis matters. so it goes, so do we. there is more potential in memphis tennessee that anywhere in the entire south the spirit we have to embrace memphis. i want the entire legislature to go with me and look at the
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medical centers. i am the only one of your that signed a pledge to fully fund the met. it matters. sodas' memphis. >> the will matter is not jus meant the spirit is a trauma center and a burn center. it matters to the whole state. if you train that you to medical school, there is a good chance they did their training right there. i visited with their management team and got their perspective on what we need to do. it is hard to make this be competitive with current facilities. that is going to be the issue we have to address. it is hard to operate efficiently in an incredibly inefficient building. >> as most people know, i am from west tennessee, and i grew up watching how this progress over the years. the president of the united states comes to tennessee and the maed is where he is taken to
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have something happens to him. it is a regional hospital. it gets patients from mississippi. its patients from arkansas. we need to make sure they get the proper medicaid and medicare dollars back into support that institution. >> it doesn't surprise me that he signed that pledge. he has a history of spending money that we do not have. he never saw a spending bill that he did not like. it is a huge issue in memphis, tennessee. memps does matter. one out of 10 people live in shelby county. it is the largest medicare provider in mississippi and arkansas. that is a problem that we need to work on. >> thank you, gentlemen. our next question is coming from
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the moderator. recent proposals to build new mosques have been controversial. is there were an obligation to build a mosque in your neighborhood, how would you respond? >> there is nothing more important in america that our state. as it is what defines us and it is sometimes what divides us. that is an issue that is a local zoning issue. i have seen this as mayor, but there are local land use issues. >> mr. mcwherter? >> the first amendment, freedom of religion, there is a reason that our forefathers adopted that into our constitution. having said that, i truly understandhe concerns of some of these neighborhoods about bringing these kinds of
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institutions in. he just cannot drop these into the middle of a very quiet neighborhood and expect the same client -- the same kind of quality of life. as long as developers will put them in places where they can work with the neighborhood, i would be supportive. >> obviously, our funding fathers were brilliant. there was divine intervention in that room when they wrote the constitution and the bill of rights. we have freedom o religion and freedom to assemble. i think we need to remember those when we approach this problem. this is a zoning issue. it is my understanding that this was approved in 17 days, and it makes you wonder how much review they reallyave. it is a local issue. i do not like the government influencing us. >> we are respectful of all
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religions. we do have a judeo-christian foundation. i have read many books. after september 11, i became a student of this particular problem and i would ask 1st how you feel about sharia law, because we do not want that in this country. we do not want to allow that to fester or grow in this country, but we respect all religious views. it i think that the other men are right. we have to be careful with this issue, but sharia law canno spread in america. >> we want to take another look at our for reaching audience tonight. groups have gathered on the campus of the university of memphis and east tneee university. >> if you have an issue that has not been addressed tonight, let us know. post your question on facebook. the page is the statewide
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debate. >>the canada is now to question one another. >> each candidate chooses a canada and poses a question of their own choosing and the question can last 15 seconds and the answer no longer than 30 seconds. >> bill, i will address it to you, this time. i am interested in to corporations. i heard that you did not want to disclose this because of family privacy unions -- privacy issues. what are you hiding? >> i am not hiding anything. i have disclosed more than the law requires and everybody knows what i own, there is no secret. the leader of your party said that that was manly politics and that when your own dad was governor and he set up a blind trust, he wanted it to be a
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venetian blind trust because he might want to peak at it now and then. >> mr. ramsey, choose your candid and pose your question. >> sack, you were one of seven congressmen have voted for tart and spent more than $400 billion. >> i was not one of seven, so your facts are all the wrong. i voted against every bailout, ever stimulus, all the bad legislation, except the second tarp vote. like senator alexander and others, we were athe cliff and i became very concerned that people i represent would not be able to get their own money out of the bank's the next morning. we were at the cliff.
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we had no choice at that moment on the second time. >> i will ask the mayor another question. in your campaign material, you say that you are remarkable business leader, even though your your brother ran pilot and your dad ran pilot, and you left and went with another company. that is not underestimate. you lost $35 million. why is it not part of what you say is responsible business? f>> we were starting an internet retail business and taken vantage ofhe saks fifth avenue name and we hired a management team to come up with a business plan that was profitable. that business team that i hired, most of its still there and it is recognized throughout the internet retail world as a great team. that team is very successful.
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i am proud of what we did there. >> mr. mr. haslam, take a breath and ask your question. >> i have heard you talk about expanding three k, but we all know that we are $1.5 billion in bohol. what taxes will you raise to pay for these new programs? >> bill, what i talked about is that i think that we need to be working towards a solution, not trying to sue the federal government over this issue any more than the federal government should be suing the state of arizona over an immigration issue. we can work with our congressional delegation and i do not agree and i am not fine with the administration's bill as it is right now, but i feel that we can work with our congressional delegation to make sure that this is a deal that will help tennessee but not burden our tennessee taxpayers.
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>> canada's, thank you very much. from memphis to the tri-cities and points in between, we are coming to you live from the cent at the campus of belmont university. we have a studio audience and a web audience tonight. we are in johnson city at eastern tennessee state. thank you for being with us tonigh wave at us. there might be some delay there. now we he more questions. >> i am a firefighter and the question i pose is this. are you for or against collective bargaining which would allow us to negotiate directly with our employer it over issues and if you are against it, why? >> mr. ramsey, we will begin
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with you. i have been opposed of collective bargaining for public employees r years to read my daughter just married a firefighter. i understand the plight of firefighters, but we have looked to what is going on in ties around this nation and states around this nation that have allowedublic employees to unionize, allow public employees to have collective bargaining and it breaks the bank. we have seen states ke california go under because of the collective bargaining that public employees have had. >> mr. wamp? >> i have worked for firefighters in my public service. firefighters deserve everything that we can possibly d this bill was offered by jimmy duncan of knoxville, a conservative republican. after a critical review, i took my name off of it because of exactl what ron said. we cannot force this on to the fire department or local government. we have more collective
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bargaining then we can have. we are a right to work state. new capital investment are coming to tennessee. >> as mayor, i love working with our fire department. the russian to buildings with other people are running out. we cannot force collective bargaining. every mayor that i know is against this. i am glad to say that you are against it. we are facing pressures and to have washington tell us that we have to recognize unions is wrong. >> scott, i appreciate that question very much. i would agree on this general principle. i am not a person who is going to go out and it endorsed collective bargaining for city employees, however, i will understand the memorandum of understanding and what we need to doo put city employees
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first. i want to make sure that that memorandum is understood and can be enforced on both sides, both on the city and for the people that are working for the city. >> it is time to revisit our town hall participant. >>r. wamp this will be for you. i know that you are a vietnam veteran. >> my estion is, there were tennessee state mercy comes for veterans -- nursing homes for veterans. they are -- there are crently two homes waiting to be built.
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would you endorse this? >> i and t ranking member of the subcommittee in washington and it is the highest honor i have had in my professional life. general day and would is here tonight in support of me. we owe our veterans everything. i will do everything in my power to get these homes built as quick as i can, given the budget constraints. i know more about this issue for veterans than anyone on the stage probably will in their lifetime. >> but you come a sergeant major. we had one built in our county several years ago and i think it was the most recent one bill. it was a long process and involve federal money in state money and finally some local money as well. we have to do something. there is a long waiting list. i have friends whose parents are
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on waiting lists. the state should work with th. with local government and with federal government, they need to make it happen. >> that is the longest title i have ever heard of anybody that is a committee chairman. i was in jack's borrow. i have a gentleman call into a radio talk-show and really and for me about many of the iues that veterans are facing that we really have to address. as funding becomes available, i will become 100 percent behind that. i will be behind it even before funding becomes available because we owe that to our veterans. >> thank you for your service. i took my father to a nursing home in johnson city, tenn. on august 28. my father passed away in the johnson city nursing home for veterans.
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i saw firsthand and i will commit to build those homes. it should be our number one priority to take care of those citizens that sacrificed so much so that we could be here tonight. >> after more than 40 years without an execution, there have been six in the state of tennessee since the start of this millennium. the state is set to execute a woman on september 28. under what circumstances would you commute a death sentence and would you consider commuting gail owens' execution? i will not comme on gail owens because i've been not think it is -- i do not think that it is appropriate. the only exception would be new
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information that comes to light that would drastically change a jury's decision. it is my program to follow what the jury recommends. >> mr. wmr. mcwherter? >> i started out my career as a lawyer. i fought in front of the supreme court. i saw firsthand just how the process works when you go through a dth penalty case. there is a tremendous of vetting process. if there is new evidence that comes to light, the governor should intervene, but otherwise we should enforce the law. >> i am in favor of the death penalty and i think it is a deterrent to crime. the process has been played out through the jury system and it takes yrs. i cannot understand anyy why we would comte the death sentence if it went through that
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process. i sponsored a bill in the state legislature a few years ago that was revolutionary that required us to take dna from convicted fens for the first time in our state. sometimes and dna convicts people, but the dna proves innocence at times, too. i think there it would be less and less likely that we execute the wrong person. >> let me say that i will defend all innocent life from conception through their natural live with every ounce of my engy as long as i'm governor of tennessee. this is the toughest thing that i think the governor can do, but there has to be a range of deterrence all the way to capital punishment. the only way that the governor should not carry out his constitutional obligation based on the death penalty is if there is new dna related type evidence, compelling evidence to not go forward. >> we have another panel question. mr. mcwherter, he will take this
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first it what did you lea from the recent flood that we have and what would you do to protect homes, businesses and infrastructure from the next flood? >> i was out putting sandbags to levy against the cumberland river. i learned that i used muscles that i that i have not used in a long time girded we have incredible -- in a long time. we have incredible leadership. we have to make sure that we do not allow developers to continue to put homes in areas that are flood prone land. they lose everything in that rega. >> i learned what a great state we live in, the great state of tennese. we are called the volunteer state. that goes backo the day that we volunteered for the army, but you did not heaanne in or
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complaining. -- any wining or complaining. i am proud of what ppened. we need to look about building in flood zones. i learned how talente how resilience, how hard working tennessean are. >> i did not learn that, already knew that. tennessee is an extraordinary group of people. i heard from fema that they had never seen anywhere in this entire nation what they saw in terms of people taking care of people. it is extraordinary what we saw. that is what tennessee is. that is why i cannot wait to serve the state as the 49th governor. there were a lot of pople caught up not having a flood insurance because they were nowhere near a flood plain. we need to reach calibrate that whole equation in tennessee.
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-- we need to recalibrate the whole equation in tennessee. >> i went to perry cnty two weeks after the flood and sought a peaceful stream that was a raging river and literally took a home down the river and killed a father and his daughter. in millington, a flotilla of bass boats gathered in a gas station parking lot to go out to neighborhoods and bring people into rid of that is the kind of response i saw. folks were being readied to get deployed and were showing up to help. >> our camera crews have been busy gathering questions around tennessee. here is something on the mind of a gentleman. if you can keep the answers to 15 seconds, we want to try to compress and get as many questions as we can. >> i would like to know why the gulf spill -- what would you do
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in your first six months to increase tourism for the state of tennessee from memphis to the smoky mountains? >> i live about 2 miles from there and i will encourage the local industry to join with the state of tennessee as we have for many years and, what to make sure we are adverting the state of tennessee properly. the tourist attractions are there but we encourage local governments to join with those businesses in advertising. >> the tennessee department of economic and community development needs to spread the incentives for investments around the small businesses to answer your question, and the tourism industry. we are losing in motion pictures because we do not incentivize film production in tennessee. >> of the gulf spill is a tragedy that the world will be suffering from for a long time.
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in tennessee, we need to extend the stay of our tourists that come here. when they come to see the grand ole opry, it is a great time to see the smoky mountains. >> for every dollar invested in tourism in tennessee, it returns approximately $7. you do not have to be a genius to figure out that supporting the tourisindustry in this state returns revenue to our state and helps us move forward. >> we have reserved some time at the end of to reexamine some of the answers and perhaps give the candidates a chance to expand or clarify their positions. >> mr. ramsey, we will start with you. if you support arizonas erasion law, how would you pay for the inevitable legal battle involved? >> son things are worth fighting for. we have an illegal immigration probem and it is worth fighting for.
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i encourage people to look at what arizona is actually doing. do not listen to the rhetoric, look at what they are actually doing. they ask the federal government to come down and enforce the law. the federal government has failed us. when they did not, they said they would enforce law and now the obama administration is suing the state of arizona. just when you thought that washington could not get any crazier, it did. >> mr. wamp, do you believe you mr. haslam disingenuous? >> a lot of money is being spent, here. it will probably be $15 million in this primary. will a billionaire family tried to buy the government of tennessee? he has not been transparent. he has not been fully disclosed. he has rused. no one has refused
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if wall street is too big to fail, in tennessee, are you too big to live under the same rules as anybody else in regards to turn away? >> can you give us andea why you are not telling everything? >> the only people that bring this up or politicians. i have spent time in every county, knocking on doors. i have spoken with over four or 500 -- over 400 or 500 groups. the people that asked about this are asking from a political standpoint. everyone understands my political campaign. more people have given to our campaign and they have given to any campaign in the history of tennessee. i think at that says volumes about the support that we have. >> mr. mcwherter, what needs to be done to make this place a better place to live and wo? >> tough question.
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we have to get people back to work. i have talked about two things about how to do that. i believe we have a great foundation. we have to go out and target the associated industries and spread jobs all over tennessee. the second thing i talked about is having tax breaks and tax incentives for businesses all across the state that are creating jobs. if we can get people back to work, we have consumers and revenue and we can move the state forward. that is what i will do. it is time for each of our candidates to give a summary statement in closing. the order of the statement was determined by a drawing. we begin with mr. ramsey. >> thank you. you he a tough decision to make. when you make that decision, analyze the candidates. we do not need washington ways here in nashville. mr. haslam is trying to buy the
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race by spending aot of money. what we need in the state of tennessee is good common-sense conservative leadership. gun owners of america have endorsed me. the tea party groups understand that i am the only one that knows that this country isn't a heck of a shed and it will be up to governors to push back on a washington d.c. that has gone solutely crazy. i was named the tennessee right- to-life legislator of the year. i would appreciate your support, your prayers, and your vote. the key for having us here tonight. >> mr. mcwherter? >> first, i want to thank channel 4 and belnt for hosting this event today. i am a sinessman. i am not a career politician.
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i am the one candidate in this race that has grown a business, met a payroll, built a budget from scratch and live within it. everybody up here wants to talk about jobs. i have actually created jobs. i know what it takes to cree more jobs. i am the one candidate in this race that has been talking about the fact that we need to have tax incentives and tax breaks for businesses in this state that are creating jobs. as i have travelled across this state, i have had a chance to work alongside some of the hardest working people in tennessee. i pulled plywood, i've bused tables, i have work on assembly lines. in tennessee, we have the work ethic. we have the values. now, we need the jobs. as governor, my priority is for me to put tennessean back to work. >> mr. wamp? >> the holy scripture says that
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where there is no vision, people perish. i have been in politics long enough to see that the problem is that in politics there is very little vion. tennessee needs a vision for the future. how we create a dynamic state? it is on my website. this is a 20/20 vision to create a strong economy and improve education with an early childhood reading initiative, to become a preventive health model state. we are almost dead last in health care and we have to change the cultu of the next generation. all the while, we need to claim state sovereignty because the federal government is raining wn on us to protect our way of life. we need to make tennessee a better and stronger state. in many ways, we have to protect our own faith and values as well. this is like david v goliath with all this money. there are spending their own money, now. i have great faith in the people of tennessee. i have great faith in god that
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he has already decided who will be governor. >> i want to thank you all for doing this tonight. i want to thank the people of tennessee. my wife and i have travelled across the state. you have welcomed us into your homes and introduced us to your friends and many of you have financially supported our campaign. he shared with us your struggles in your hopes for your children. democracy is a long and hard process, but the result ishat it makes you a better leader when y're elect to office. if you will let me, i promise you two things. we will be faithful stores of your tax dollars. i will use every bit of experience and expertise and energy that i have to bring jobs to tennessee. we can be the best location in the southeast. we will have reform in education. we cannot have thousands of children drop out in tennessee. i will work hard for values that make tennessee such a special place for all of us to live. it has been a log 18 months, but
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it has been a good one. i am asking you for your vote. early voting starts in four days. >> who will be with us on october 11 for second debate. >> everybody? what's everybody. >> have a good night, thank you, tennessee. >> next, the democrats' debate for rhode island's first house seat to replace patrick kennedy, who is not running for reelection. we will hear from providence's mayor, a businessman, a former speight -- state chairman, and
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state rep. this event took place at the performing arts center in providence, rhode island. >> the following program is a special presentation by eyewitness news. >> eyewitness news brings you live coverage of now, a campaign 2010 debate, u.s. house district 1, democrats. they face off in a prime-time debate, live, right now, all wpri 12 and wpri.com. >> this is the first live televised debate four democrats in the 1st congressional district. each of these men is hoping to succeed rep patrick kennedy in washington and for each one, it is his first run for u.s. congress. tonight, we will be talking about some very important issues that affect all families in the state of rhode island.
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first, we want to thank all the candidates for participating in tonight's debate and we want to remind you that this is live on wpri-12 and it is also live on our web sites wpri.com. after a televised portion, the debate will continue on wpri.com with even more questions, including those submitted by eyewitness news viewers. be sure to log on to that beginning at 8:00 p.m.. we begin with opening remarks for each of the canvas. the order was determined by a growing. up first is mr. gemma. he is the founder of a marketing firm. this is mr. gemma's first run for office. >> thank you very much. i want to thank channel 12 for hosting this event this evening. i want to thank patrick kennedy for his years of service for the people of rhode island.
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i want to thank you, the viewers, for taking time out of your schedule why am i running? from an early age, every valued that my parents instilled in me, from growing up in a family of nine children and a home in providence to growing company in maintaining over 200 jobs, to growing a foundation and helping thousands of men and women speak and fight breast cancer, have prepared me for this day. that day is one of being a public servant. the next way -- the best way i know how to be a public servant is to run for correctional office in the way that i can help from the first office. with that, we need your help reinvigorate every infant public service, and i'd hope starts with you. thank you very much. >> now david segal.
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he works as a policy researcher and paralegal. >> thank you. my name is david segal. i'm running because the people of ryland want and deserve the congress member who will stand up a powerful interest and when real victories for families. we need washington to do more to address our serious challenges. the big corporations, big banks, big insurance companies have far too much power and influence. the hard-working families in our communities have too little. i want to be a voice for those working families. as a providence city council member and now as this decrepit the -- the state rep, i have stood up to loans that were making predatory loans and for closing in homes and our neighborhood. i have stood up against developers who took millions of dollars and refused to hire
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residents to work on their projects. i pushed back against national grid to bring grain jobs and renewable energy to rhode island for the first time. i worked to reform political corruption in campaign finance. -- and campaign finance. that is why i am asking for your vote. >> thank you. david cicilline has been the mayor of providence since 2002. he served four terms as a state representative. before being in politics, he was an attorney in criminal defense and civil rights. your opening remarks. >> thank you for organizing this debate. our state is facing some enormous challenges, as is our country. --re worried about future the future, the ability to support themselves, paying bills. rhode island has the fourth highest unemployment rate in the
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country. we see oil gushing into our oceans in the gulf. parents are disappointed when their children have to leave for thailand to find work. it cannot watch their grandchildren grow up here. i want to -- have to leave ryland to find work. they cannot watch their grandchildren grow up here. i know what works and what does not. i know how to get things done. we need leadership which will fight for working families, putting them first, and deliver rhode island. i will work hard every single day for the families of our state. >> thank you. >> and now, bill lynch. he is former chairman of the state democratic party. he served as the city councilor for six years. your opening remarks. >> thank you to all of you for
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being here tonight. most of all, thank you to the people at home who have taken the time to watch us tonight. it is pretty obvious to most everybody here in rhode island that washington does not work for working people. our friends, families, and neighbors are out of work, out of hope, and out of patience with washington. i am running for congress to do what i have done my whole life here in rhode island -- fight for our families. i announced my support for term limits for members of congress yesterday. if elected, i pledge to you that i would only serve 12 years in the congress. we need to change washington from the bottom up with significant and real change. term limits will do that. washington is broken. it is time to make profound changes. there is no time to waste.
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too many politicians are looking out for themselves. tonight, i look forward to talking about fixing those problems. i respectfully ask for support and your vote in september. thank you. >> we actually have another debate scheduled before the general election. each of the candidates has agreed to appear on that debate, should they win the democratic primary in september. let's start on the issues that are vital to families in rhode island. . >> thank you. good evening. it is safe to say many voters know little about each of you. we hope to change that. there is no strict format to this debate. however, we want to cover a lot of ground. if i feel you are going to -- and not answering the question, i will jump in.
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mr. lynch, it being your birthday, might give to you is the first question. -- my gift to you is the first question. >> i told my wife we were going out for my birthday. i do not think this is what she had in mind your >> the economic recovery -- in mind. >> the economic recovery has been slow to take hold. the last thing many people here want to see is more taxes. in 2011, the bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire. which of those tax cuts would you allowed to expire? >> as a country, the last thing we can do is tax our way out of this economic crisis. as someone who has run all law office for almost 25 years now and represented many small businesses, and here every day that they are taxed to the hilt. there is no more money to pay.
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as a priority, we need to, in order to ensure and grow jobs here, reduce the tax pressure on these businesses. one way to do that is to look at the bush tax cuts -- the consequence of the bush tax cuts. they saved the wealthiest, to the detriment of the middle class. >> if at all possible, we need to look at protecting and preserving the middle class families in ryland -- rhode island. >> according to the congressional budget office, the bush tax cuts only favored 25% of the rich -- those households over $250,000. what about the death tax, the marriage tax, low-income families who will see their income tax rate jumped five percentage points?
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>> we have to address these issues in a way that benefits average, hard-working families, not the wealthiest among us. if there has to be a decision made as to who has to pay more, frankly, i think it has to fall more on those that have done better and continue to make enormous amounts of money. >> mr. gemma, which of the bush tax cuts should go? >> we are facing a $1.4 million deficit in -- $1.40 trillion deficit in our country. the real problem is about creating jobs. we're working on creating a jobs plan to bring real jobs to the people of our state and our nation. we want to lessen the burden and the pressure. i do believe that the middle
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class is the one that is really suffering. we have to help them. >> you started that answer by citing the deficit. are you saying that the bush tax cuts are taking a heavy hand in the deaths at? >> the real issue with the books-cuts -- the bush tax cuts is that they probably need to be repealed. >> all of them? even the child tax credit, the marriage tax, the death tax? >> all of them. $1.4 facing a deficit of million -- hard decisions will need to be made. i believe the tax cuts should be allowed to expire. >> according to the government site, $266 million in stimulus money has been spent on grants, loans, and contracts in rhode
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island, in the first congressional district alone, which netted about 213 jobs. are you ok with those numbers? >> that number is a wall full return on investment. -- a wall full -- woeful return on investment. we need to keep businesses moving. we need to visit the state future commerce and tax revenues. -- we need to facilitate future commerce and tax revenues. as a state representative, it has been apparent to me that rhode island would have been suffering much more without the stimulus. there would of been further cuts to schools, municipalities , and increases in property taxes. >> would you support a second
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stimulus? >> i would support the stimulus that focuses on jobs, infrastructure, green jobs, in for structure that helps facilitate commerce down the line, and kickstart our economy in the long term. >> he is looking for a bigger stimulus. >> this is the example -- an example where the perspective of a mayor would have been very beneficial. we argued for real investment in infrastructure. rebuild bridges, roads, water systems, technology. get people working right away to create a national infrastructure bank with a public-private partnership. we have over 300 structurally- deficient bridges in the first district alone. we need to invest in infrastructure. it helps create a plaque for
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rick -- platform for rebuilding the economy. only a small portion of the recovery package went to infrastructure. it was not a failure, but we have not seen the kind of job creation that we should have. most of it went to this day. we have unfortunate and aggressive. we competed for grants. we brought tens of millions of dollars into our state. we were competitive. we examined every opportunity. we created jobs. if there is going to be additional investment, it has to be targeted and very smart. >> you are talking about additional investment. >> one answer is raising the retirement age. do you support that?
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>> no. i think there are ways to generate revenue without raising the retirement age. >> what are those ways? among you continue to make the right investments that will rebuild our economy. invest in our manufacturing. understand that manufacturing in the first district is the backbone of our economy. many generations of families made a good living in manufacturing. we need to have a national manufacturing policy, trade policies to allow us to compete globally, tax policies to support american businesses. we need to make things again. we need to rebuild our economy. we need to understand that budgets are about setting the right priorities. we have sufficient resources to do the things we need to do. i believe it is time to bring our troops home from afghanistan. >> i do not want to get off subject.
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the cost of entitlements an entitlement programs have been going through the roof. is this not an area you would look at? >> you have to look at everything. you asked if i would support raising the retirement age. i was at a boat building facility a few days ago. it is hard work. at the time that they are ready to retire, they ought to be ready to retire. we should keep our commitment. we created the social security trust fund in anticipation of the baby boom. what is happening now is exactly what was predicted. we need to understand that we made a commitment to the american people and we need to keep that commitment. >> you have said everything is on the table for you. you would not rule out some sort of privatisation. can you clarify? >> we should prioritize -- not
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prioritize social security. we should maintain our promise. >> when i asked you your views on social security, you said everything was on the table. >> we met to two weeks ago. i have done my research and my homework. i do not believe that is the way we shall go. we have a promise to our seniors and we should deliver on that promise. not for someone that is in the workforce, relying, to their detriment, on our poor planning. >> what about entitlement programs? he was reluctant to approach the costly entitlement programs. are there any you would be willing to look at? >> i do not believe that is where the cuts should come from. my dad used to say you fail to
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plan, plan to fail. we have failed to plant as a state and a nation. that is why we are in this predicament. if you think about the question you asked previously about jobs, we have created 209, 213 jobs -- $1.2 million per job. it is not the return on investment we're looking for. that is poor planning. >> this bipartisan commission is looking to raise the retirement age. >> i would not support that. we have one of the highest percentages of seniors and people approaching that age in the country. we have made a commitment and i will keep that commitment. we need to prioritize our spending in washington.
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that is where the problem lies. that is where we have gotten completely off track. people are beginning to recognize that. the easiest way is to stop spending $910 billion in afghanistan and iraq. we should not have a bridge between providence and put it that we have to wait six or seven years repaired, when we are spending $40 billion fixing roads and bridges in iraq. add this point in time, we are a generous country. we're very generous people here in our state. we need to tighten our belts and so does congress. we need to look at where we are spending hard-earned tax money, particularly around the world. is it being spent appropriately? should it be reduced? it should help people who need help here. >> can you answer the social
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security question -- raising the retirement age to 70 years old -- would you support that? >> i would not support such changes. looking at adjustment for people who are younger, living longer, that might be reasonable, but social security is not in the crisis that the right wing wants us to believe it is in. paul krugman have made clear that the amount of revenue that is necessary to make up the projected gap years down the line is equal to about 1/4 of the cost of the bush tax cuts. it is less than the cost of the wars in afghanistan and iraq right now. there are other options to look at. >> paul krugman can ignore $1.40 trillion deficit. how would you shrink it? >> some of them have been spoken to already. a job-inducing stimulus will pay for some of itself, because it
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will facilitate commerce down the line, while keeping people employed, and increasing tax revenues. ending the bush tax cuts where people are making over $250,000 per year is a reasonable measure to take. we need to rein in spending on the war. >> can you answer how to shrink the deficit? >> the first and most important way is to bring our troops home as responsibly and quickly as we can. we have spent more in afghanistan and iraq -- $4 billion per month. that is a little bit less than the entire community development block grant for the entire country. we're rebuilding schools, bridges, roads have lawyer around the world, but we have them here in our own country that are crumbling. we have to be strong direct home and make the right investments in america. the second way is to repeal the $3 billion in subsidies that go
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to the big oil companies and shift that to investments in renewable energy. >> $3 billion? is that not a drop in the fiscal budget? >> it is an important investment and the way to repeal interests that are undermining us. >> i will move onto a rapid-fire session. i will ask you a yes or no question. i'm looking for just a yes or no. we will start left to right. >> what happens if we do not say yes or no? >> it is up to you if you want to give the people at home the question -- the perception that you cannot answer a yes or no question. would you vote to repeal the military policy don't ask, don't tell? >> yes. >> yes. >> yes. but i guess. -- >> absolutely.
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>> from right to left, would you vote to approve money to close guantanamo bay? >> i believe so. >> no. >> no. >> it would depend what would be done with the prisoners there. [laughter] >> one of the proposals is to move the detainees to an underused prison in illinois. that is one proposal. >> if i were satisfied they would be in a secure facility, yes. >> yes. for the people that answered yes, the proposal was to move it
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to an underused prison in illinois. we happen to have an underused prison here in rhode island. would you be willing to allow those detainees to be moved to there? >> i have full faith and our law enforcement officers to protect our country and ourselves, so yes. >> no. it is not a question of a lack of confidence in the facility or personnel. this facility in illinois is a very high level security. >> i agree with david cicilline. it is a rural area of illinois. >> at this moment, would you vote to retain nancy pelosi as speaker of the house? >> yes. >> depending on what she promised for my state. >> is that yes? is she doing a good job?
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>> i think she is doing a good job. i would want to secure as much as i could for rhode island. >> i do not think she really cares. if i were elected and she were the leader of the party, i would vote to support her and my party in congress. >> i believe so. yes. >> next question. right to left. if in congress at the time, would you have voted to pass a national health care reform act? >> i would have, but i would have pushed hard for a public option. >> i would have reluctantly, but i would plan on revisiting at for an amending. >> yes, but i would have pressed hard for a public option. i understand this is just the first step. we have a lot more to do.
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>> yes. following the rules. >> good for you. the top priority of labor is to get the legislation passed. would you vote to do away with secret ballot in union legislation? >> it is in the senate right now. secret ballots would not be included. i would not vote for the house version. >> our entire delegation supports the version you are talking about and i would as well. >> i agree with the mayor. people should be able to vote without the fear of facing intimidation. >> i am proud to support that. ledproud to have delegations of representatives into the masonic temple hotel
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where 85% of workers -- >> your answer is yes. >> my answer is yes. >> final question -- i will allow you to explain this one more if you need to. do you support a woman's right to choose? >> yes. but absolutely, i always have. >> yes. >> i am pro-life with the inception -- with the exception incest.and >> there was a very public fight between patrick kennedy and congressman. should someone be allowed to take communion if they support the policy the contradicts their faith? >> yes. that whole issue could have been better handled as a private matter between them. i feel that the bishop has an absolute right to speak out and criticize where he feels appropriate if there is someone
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belonging to his church who does not adhere to the teachings of the church. i have long said and will continue to say that there are some issues, frankly, that i am not in lockstep with the orthodox part of the catholic church. that is an issue between myself and my god. someday we will meet, i hope, and discuss is. in the meantime, i will continue to follow my conscience on those issues. >> do you agree with that? you will not be in opposition to the church, but you think politicians who are should be allowed to take communion? >> yes, i do. i do not believe that those differences should have been aired in a public forum. i believe that elected officials should be able to receive communion. been a few became a democrat in may of this year. -- >> you became a democrat in
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may of this year. you have been the work -- a contributor to republican. those were looking to make the decision, how do you reconcile your record? >> i reconcile it like this. like overset -- like over 60% of the population i and disconnected. -- we are disconnected and unaffiliated. i would say that -- >> be specific with the governor. >> i did donate to that governor. i did donate to seven democrats at the same time. i donated for one specific issue. i supported how hard he pushed
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for the separation of powers. it was a single-issue donation. >> your donation was in 2006, $1,000. separation of powers was passed in 2004, two years before your donation. >> if you follow my focus plan, i have a 23-page focus plan to get citizens back involved with their government, the core comes from the separation of powers. what happened was this -- when it was pushed to the voters, 73% voted in favor of separation of powers, which became a political mandate for elected officials to vote for it. that includes the governor's implementation. that is the core of my plan. we need to get citizens involved with the government so they can make decisions and tell us how they feel and how we should vote on a specific issue. >> the political question to you
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as well -- for the past 12 years as chairman of the state democratic party, you have been -- >> i am proud of the job i did. that was my job. i do not hold elective office. i have never served in the house or senate. i took on the responsibility because i believe that the democratic party has been a party of working families, particularly here in rhode island. i am proud to have played even a very small part of that tradition. .
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most of the time we had a republican governor here in rhode island that ran at the outside as a businessman. i did not agree many times with policies pushed on the country and on the state by both republican white house and the republican governor. i was never afraid to stand up and speak my mind. that is something that the people of rhode island want and need. i think they needed now in washington and i intend to do that. nce a progressive democrat. you are now a green party member. our liberal views opening your to greater risk of defeat in a general election? >> i would disagree strongly with that. i think my views right now are almost non-ideological. a bleak corporate power in washington has run amok and we need to push back against the banks, insurance

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